22nd Jan, 2013 – Seeds of Movement
Opinions. We all have them, in one form or another, on pretty much everything. They lay dormant in your mind, occasionally rising like the cobra before its charmer’s flute, only to shrink back when the show is over.
To what end, these strange conversational submarines? They exist in us as seeds, each with its own potential to grow and spread fractal roots down into that primal, secondary brain: the gut. This is what causes that churning, nagging, driving-force we call principle.
As with the disparate forms of the oak and the acorn, so the principle is something vastly different to the seed from which it sprang. For principles inspire actions.
And actions can change the world…
30th Jan, 2013 – “There is nothing permanent except change” : Heraclitus
During the 2008 US Presidential Election primaries, an Illinois senator offered the United States ‘change we can believe in’. Some months later, Barak Hussein Obama II is sworn-in as the 44th president of the United States of America.
Fast forward to 2010 and David Cameron’s Conservative Party took control of the parliament of the United Kingdom by urging the public to ‘vote for change’.
The overarching definition of the word ‘change’ is the replacement of one thing with another, with no mention made of which may be the preferred choice. One can change a tyre, thus rendering the vehicle mobile; a positive change. One can also make a change for the worse, as when Horace tells us “I’m not as I was”.
Our optimism would have us view change as a new, greener pasture. Perhaps we can grasp some new perspective by considering a recluse named Ben.
Ben is no stranger to change. His days consist of watching the video diaries of his estranged, recently deceased wife, who Ben hasn’t seen for 20 years, despite living directly next door to her until cancer came a calling.
How does Ben view change? Would he relish the thought of something – anything – to change, to usher in a new and uncertain chapter in his purgatorial life? Or has Ben had his fill of the turmoil often brought by a new circumstance?
Well, ‘change’ pays no heed to the wishes of those caught in its flux. Change is coming for Ben. And it cannot be stopped…
01st Feb, 2013 – “Running water never grows stale. So you just have to ‘keep on flowing’ : Bruce Lee
Take a can of fizzy pop and shake it as hard as you can. Now open it and see what happens. Aside from irremovable stains from carcinogenic caramel, you will experience a release of energy. Energy is a strange and ambiguous force in the universe.
Benjamin Franklin tells us “energy and persistence conquer all things”. Nothing better illustrates this than water. Water that sustains life. Water that kills thousands in a tsunami. Water, whose energy and persistence erode even the hardest rock.
Equally infinite are the positive and negative uses of energy and persistence.
But what of energy and persistence borne of positive direction, before descending to the negative extreme? What of energy such as that possessed by Maddy?
Maddy’s deep love of the natural world caused her to commit an act. Many would define this act as terrorism. Some would call it activism in extremis.
Either way, the act in itself is undoubtedly extreme.
But why? What makes an optimistic, virally vibrant soul lash out? And to what end her actions?
12th Feb, 2013 – “I’ll try to be around and about. But if I’m not, then you know that I’m behind your eyelids, and I’ll meet you there” : Terrence McKenna
There exists a theory that the technology of man will someday advance to such heights that computer simulations will be indistinguishable from our reality. There are, inevitably, those who argue that this has already happened.
In much the same way as one could argue, but not conclusively prove that there is no god, simulated reality theory cannot be completely dismissed. As we continue to make astonishing discoveries about our own nature, so our definition of reality fades farther into the fog – or as Sagan put it, “we know less and less about more and more”.
Ben’s estranged wife, Melanie is ostensibly dead. Cancer sucked dry the body that held her consciousness in place. The process of dying has several key stages, almost invariable across all races and cultures, albeit compressed or expanded depending on the speed at which a person dies. One element is introspection; reflecting on one’s life and the manner in which it was spent.
Melanie’s prolonged expiration gave her both time and inclination to document this introspection, this reflection in the form of a video diary, the entries to which spans many months.
To Ben, her physical form remains as intangible as it was during their two decades of separation. Now, as off this mortal coil Melanie does shuffle, Ben gains access to more of her thoughts than ever before. Irony in death, yes, but also life in death, as Melanie’s ruminations emerge to blink in the sunlight for the first time.
What portentous insights are bestowed on one condemned to death? And what do they mean for those left behind?